Sterilization involves removing the body's ability to release eggs into the womb with a surgical procedure. Generally speaking it is non-reversible, so it is only a choice for women who never want to have children, or who don't wish to have any more.
There are surgical and non-surgical methods of female sterilization. Non-surgical methods block the fallopian tubes with a small, metal device. This is inserted through the vagina with a special catheter, and it works by causing scar tissue to form around it, eventually closing the tubes. This process takes around 3 months, so you will have to use another method of contraception in this time, but once it's done, it's done.
The surgical methods are slightly more invasive, and are generally performed under general anesthesia so they require a longer recovery time. During the surgery the fallopian tubes are cut, sealed using an instrument with an electrical current, or closed with clamps or rings. Once done, sterilization doesn't affect libido or your ability to have sex, but it's important to consult your doctor or nurse while you make the decision. They will help you weigh the benefits, risks and any potential drawbacks, and inform you of other long-acting contraceptives such as the IUS and IUD, which are also highly effective.
How it measures up
No. Female sterilization is hormone-free.
Ease of Use
Female sterilization is permanent. Once the procedure is done, it’s done.
Female sterilization has no impact on menstruation.
No, sterilization does not impact libido, and a woman can have sex after she has recovered from the procedure the same as she did before.
Anesthetic will be used to reduce discomfort during the procedure. Some women experience soreness and feel weak for several days or even a few weeks after the procedure, but strength is soon regained.
Sterilization is intended to be permanent and non-reversible, so those who feel they may want to have children in the future should opt for an alternative method of contraception. Surgery to reverse sterilization is very difficult, and the risk of ectopic pregnancy after reversed sterilization is greater than usual.
No. Most research finds no major changes in menstrual bleeding patterns after female sterilization. If a hormonal method of contraception or an IUD was used before sterilization, the bleeding patterns will return to the way it was before.
Yes. In tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are blocked or clamped to stop eggs from passing through. It’s generally considered permanent.
Yes, you can still be a surrogate mother even if your tubes are tied.
Female sterilization is meant to be permanent. However, it is possible to reverse the blocking or sealing of the fallopian tubes. This can be a difficult and expensive process.
Tubal ligation is one of the most effective methods of birth control. Pregnancy rates are around 1/1,000 after the first year, and between 2-10/1,000 after five years.
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The percentage of women who have chosen sterilization for contraception.
The length of time it takes for the non-surgical procedure to be effective.
The first full medical description of the procedure was provided by Von Blundell.
- It’s permanent.
- It allows spontaneity and doesn’t interrupt sex.
- It is hormone-free and can be an option for women who experience unwanted effects from hormones.
- It has no impact on menstruation.
- A doctor or nurse must perform the procedure, which may involve general anaesthesia.
- Some women experience pain, bleeding, infection, or other complications after the procedure.
- It can cause tubal pregnancy.
- It is non-reversible.
- It doesn’t protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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